Officers from Hampshire Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit have stopped almost 4,000 motorists during the recent winter campaign in an attempt to drive down the number of people getting behind the wheel under the influence of drink or drugs.
A total of 3,984 drivers were stopped at the roadside during the campaign which ran from December 1, 2010 to January 3, 2011 – with 247 of those providing positive breath tests or refusing to take the test.
This is in comparison with 3,374 drivers stopped during the 2009/10 winter campaign, with 204 of those providing positive breath tests or refusing to take the test.
The figures – which show that approximately six per cent of those stopped tested positive or fail to test during both this year and last year’s campaign – reveal that while the numbers haven’t risen significantly, perhaps more importantly, they have not been reduced.
Inspector Jon Snook said: “We have stopped almost 600 more drivers during this year’s campaign and officers have been carrying out special patrols to target hot spot areas.
“However, disappointingly, the message doesn’t seem to have hit home with all drivers. Despite the campaign coming to an end, officers will continue to patrol the roads as normal and anyone caught drink or drug-driving will face tough penalties.”
The number of drivers arrested and charged has also remained largely stable, with approximately 70 per cent of those arrested being charged with an offence.
A total of 224 people were arrested in this year’s campaign, with 158 of those charged with an offence, compared with a total of 228 people arrested last year and 159 of those being charged with an offence.
A total of 50 Field Impairment Tests (FIT) were carried out on drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs during this year’s campaign, compared with 60 last year.
Insp Jon Snook said: “While we are a little disappointed that the number of people driving under the influence has not been reduced this year, we continue to reinforce the message that driving under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs puts you and other road users in danger.
“Alcohol, for example, makes it difficult to judge distances, while cannabis can slow your reaction times and cocaine makes you more likely to take risks.
“Combine any of these with driving and the results can be lethal.
“This sort of criminal behaviour will not be tolerated in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and offenders should realise that the punishments are tough if you are caught – you could be fined, banned from driving or even sent to jail.”